A Wizard, An Alchemist, & a Man
Icarus Kane is a difficult man to know, but I, as his author, have the privilege of understanding him better than most. I find Icarus an interesting and complex character with many facets. He is both arrogant and insensitive and at the same time loyal, protective and brave. Without giving away many of the secrets of the story, I will say that Icarus' childhood has shaped him as a man in many ways. His parents created a strong and rebellious man with a thirst for peace. It makes him formidable both in and out of battle.
We first meet Icarus at war in the Americas, fighting with the Confederacy. Why, you ask, would an Englishman fight with the South? Icarus saw the Confederate soldiers, mostly farmers and untrained men, dying senselessly on the battlefield and chose to try to save as many of them as he could. And here we see a bit of his selflessness and his arrogance. Quickly he became filled with melancholy when men continued to die around him. He was tired of war when he returned to London, but war was not tired of him. Icarus was drawn, once again, toward protecting the people of London from a threat.
One of the things that amused me most about Icarus was his hatred of science. Magic and science, he was known to say, were cousins. Magic borne of the soul, and science of the cold, unfeeling mind. Wizards knew the secrets of the universe and were connected to it by aether. Scientists knew only what their brains could tell them. Funny, then, that Icarus' only chance to save London would come from science.
There are many things about Icarus Kane that made me smile, but his relationship with Cora Mae was the thing that made me laugh out loud. She is a creature to discuss another time, but he was entranced with her and yet terrified of her all at once. In his mind he is tainted by the secrets of his past, and she is pure and innocent and cannot be tainted by his darkness. It is that overbearing sense of protective love that pulls Cora to him even as he tries to push her away. She believes in Icarus even when he cannot believe in himself, and in the end she becomes more the hero than he.
Set in a world that is, and yet is not, like our own, Alchemist's Kiss explores love, science and magic and the idea that no man is defined by his past.
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